Sorghum Salad with Dandelion Greens & Peaches

Happy August and hi from Queens! We’ve been here in our new apartment for about two and a half months now. It’s been fun decorating a new space and exploring a new neighborhood, and we love our new second floor sunset views. Being in a well kept building with a nice landlady is pretty sweet, too. And yes, we still have a few boxes scattered about and most of our art isn’t hung up and our windows are still draped with tablecloths instead of proper shades; it’s taken us some time to recover from the exhaustion and trauma of moving and fully settle in. Still, sure enough, our home is coming together. This week we finally bought paint (Benjamin Moore Pure White, a pretty pale gray) (because I am not a cream person) (at all) and last night we finally picked up our ladder from the old place. I’d like to get as much done as possible before I go back to work at the end of the month. Nevertheless, if there’s anything I’ve learned from both Apartment Therapy and by living in my last apartment, it’s that it’s okay to not do everything at once. That holding out for things I truly love can be a good thing.

In the meantime it’s the peak of summer which means that this girl is stuffing her face with allll the fruits and vegetables from the farmers market. Especially peaches. Maybe it’s because last year we had a peach shortage, but this year’s bounty tastes particularly delicious. Here I’ve combined them with dandelion greens, garlic scapes, sorghum, pecans, and balsamic vinegar to make a sweet and savory, fruity grain salad. It’s the kind of dish that would mix beautifully with a larger, barbecue style spread, yet is hearty enough on its own to enjoy as a light dinner.

 

*After you wash the dandelion greens, don’t dry– the moisture will help cook them.
*To toast the pecans, heat in a pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes, watching closely and stirring frequently.
*Because this recipe calls for fresh peaches, for most aesthetically pleasing results I recommend eating this dish right away.
*If you can’t find garlic scapes, feel free to use 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or sliced, instead. The cloves will cook more quickly than the scapes, so take care not to burn. I think a a bit of red onion would also be good.

¾ cup sorghum, rinsed
2¾ cups water or vegetable stock (I used water + ½ bouillon cube)
olive oil
5-7 garlic scapes, ends trimmed, chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 bunch of dandelion greens, ends trimmed, chopped
1 tsp balsamic vinegar, divided, plus more for serving
¼ tsp agave
1-2 peaches, sliced
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
sea salt and black pepper

  • Place sorghum, water/stock, and a drop of olive oil in a saucepan and cook over high heat until boiling. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 50-60 minutes or until tender but still a little chewy. Drain and let cool.
  • Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil into a large pan and cook garlic scapes and red pepper flakes over medium low heat for about 4-5 minutes, stirring now and then, until fragrant and a bit golden. I highly recommend using a splatter guard here, especially if cooking in cast iron. A lid, propped open a bit so steam can escape, will also work.
  • Add the dandelion greens and a couple splashes of water to the pan. Cover, turn the heat up to medium, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring and adding more water as needed. Turn off the heat and season with half the balsamic vinegar, the agave, and salt and pepper. Let cool.
  • Add the peaches and remaining ½ tsp of balsamic vinegar to the pan. Stir in the cooled sorghum and top with chopped toasted pecans. Wait a few minutes to let the flavors mingle, then taste for seasonings and serve drizzled with a bit more olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Yield: About 4 servings

 

Chocolate Almond Delights

These are a spin on my vanilla macaroon melts— with extra almond flavor and dark chocolate.  Because unless you’re my sister-in-law who genuinely dislikes chocolate (yes really), I’m pretty sure we could all use a nice and tasty, feel good serotonin boost right now.  I myself have been fairly consumed with apartment hunting, ever since we received notice that our landlord is moving in and that we need to be out by the end of May.  Despite my being something of an anxious wacko lately who checks Street Easy and Trulia every half hour, I am of course aware of just how incredibly lucky we are; I know that no matter what we will have a place to live.  Even if it’s crappy.  Even if it’s with our parents.

Still, it’s hard not to feel a bit sad.  We’ve been here for over nine years.  And even though Phil and I were technically adults when we moved in together, it was over the course of living here that we actually grew up.  We experienced the amazing and the truly horrible and everywhere in between here.  We grew as a couple, adopted our cat Mica, got married.  I started One Window Kitchen in our one window kitchen with peeling yellow wallpaper, cracked walls and floor, and the beautiful painted tin ceiling that you see here as the background.

It’s a big change. I am actually really excited to live some place new, though.  Maybe our new apartment will even be nicer.  (As much as I love our place, “well-maintained” is not a term I have or ever would associate with it.)  We probably won’t stay in the neighborhood and may very well move to another borough altogether (WHAT UP QUEENS).  New York City is vast and it will be interesting to experience a completely different part of it.  And if we hate it, we can always hop on the subway and escape.

 

*Tip: If you have any leftover melted chocolate (and don’t feel like spooning it straight into your mouth), save it by pouring it onto some parchment paper and freezing.

½ cup blanched sliced almonds
20-30 more blanched sliced almonds (for subtle crunch) OR 10 whole roasted almonds (for more crunch)
½ cup + ½ tbsp unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut
¼ cup + ¼ tsp virgin coconut oil
1/16 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp almond extract
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 3 oz bar dark (56-71%) chocolate, chopped

  • Line a small baking sheet or tray with 10 mini muffin liners.
  • In a food processor, process the ½ cup sliced almonds and ½ cup of shredded coconut for about 1 minute, forming a coarse flour/meal.
  • Melt the ¼ cup of coconut oil, and add to the food processor along with the salt, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Process for another 30 seconds or so, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed, until well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into the mini muffin liners.  Top each one with 2-3 sliced almonds (or 1 whole roasted almond), pressing down gently, and sprinkle on the remaining ½ tbsp coconut.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  • Gently melt chocolate and remaining ¼ tsp coconut oil together, either in a double boiler over low heat or in a bowl in the microwave for short increments (20 seconds or so), stirring frequently either way.  Once melted, remove chocolate from heat.
  • Remove frozen almond coconut patties from liners and set in a separate dish.  One at a time, drop each patty into the chocolate and use a fork to roll it around, then gently lift and let excess chocolate drip back down through the fork tines.  Place back on liner.  Work quickly for best results.  Freeze for 10 minutes, then transfer to a container and store in the refrigerator (or in the freezer if you want them to last longer).

Yield: 10 chocolate almond delights

 

Noochy Hemp Sprinkle

For putting on everything.  Hemp seeds and nooch– or nutritional yeast, if you’re not a seasoned vegan– combine to make a super tasty, savory condiment that’s good for you, too.  I’ve been sprinkling it on avocado toast, rice and beans, pasta, soup, and basically whatever else where I want to add a delicious cheesy/umami richness and a nice boost of protein, B vitamins, and omega-3s.  I plan on trying it on roasted broccoli real soon and also bet it would be fab on popcorn.  And potatoes. And polenta.  It’s kind of addictive.

½ cup hulled hemp seeds/hearts
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
¼ tsp garlic powder
scant ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Add everything to a food processor and process for about 30-45 seconds, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed, until ingredients form a fine crumb.  Transfer to a jar/air-tight container and store in the fridge.

Yield: About ¾ cup

Vanilla Macaroon Melts

“Have a macaroon,” my great aunts would say, pulling an old Manichewitz tin from the cabinet.  Florence and Lily were my grandmother’s little sisters, who never married but instead grew old together in New York’s East Village. Their apartment on E. 6th Street contained an ancient sofa I never dared sit on, an electric piano, mysterious bedrooms, a television tuned into the news, thick carpets, and thick layers of dust– at least in their final years.  I once got trapped in their bathroom for at least 15 or 20 minutes.  They said things like “Jeepers!” and on some Thanksgivings my dad would pick them up and bring them over so my sister and I could meticulously make them brie and cracker sandwiches.  It wasn’t until I was older that I could appreciate their spunk and wit, and their love for both the city and one another.

I have no idea whether or not Florence and Lily (yes they are always together in my mind) would like these vanilla macaroon melts; they’re a far cry from those Manichewitz cookies.  Still, I’d like to think they’d approve of the update.  After all, they were modern women who loved a good bite.

  

*Do not use regular raw almonds here.  The measurements will be off and the skin will change the texture.  Unless I’m baking, I stay far away from (unsoaked) whole raw almonds because I’ve discovered the hard way that I cannot digest the skin.  At all.  Apparently I’m not alone.
*I measure the coconut oil in its solid form, then scoop it into a mug and microwave for 20 seconds to melt.

½ cup blanched sliced almonds
½ cup unsweetened shredded/desiccated coconut, plus a bit extra for sprinkling
¼ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1/16 tsp sea salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup

  • Line a small baking sheet or tray with 10 mini muffin liners.
  • In a food processor, process the sliced almonds and coconut for about 1 minute, forming a coarse flour/meal.
  • Add the melted coconut oil, salt, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Process for another 30 seconds or so, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if needed, until well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into the mini muffin liners, filling up about half to two-thirds way full. Sprinkle the extra coconut on top.  Freeze for 15 minutes, to quickly firm up, then transfer to the refrigerator.  Keep refrigerated.

Yield: 10 macaroon melts

Lentil Sorghum Salad with Meyer Lemon & Thyme

It’s been a minute, dear readers.  I hadn’t planned on waiting until February to post my first recipe of 2017, but despite my best intentions (and chocolatey experiments) (which will most definitely be revisited), here we are.

January was certainly eventful.  On the 21st I rode the bus with my sister Xan and her fourteen year old daughter down to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March.  Being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people standing up to the new POTUS and his agenda of hate was amazing and empowering; I felt hopeful. Meanwhile, back in NY, my family had a good scare when my mom suffered a medical emergency.  She’d become very ill due to complications from surgery, then even more ill when she went to the ER and was met with total incompetence.  Thankfully she got the care she needed just in time (at another facility; shout out to the wonderful doctors and nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital) and is okay now.

Of course the now daily barrage of crazy news is enough to drive anyone mad.  Still, it’s imperative that we stay informed, and never become desensitized or complacent.  We need to stay strong and focused, figure out our next steps.  And while I’m way too much of a realist to ever look at the world through rose tinted glasses, I’ll gladly fuel my fight with a rose tinted salad.  This one is nourishing and bright, with textural variety, tons of flavor, and a pinkish hue thanks to roasted beets.  Meyer lemon and hazelnuts make it feel like a treat, while lentils and sorghum help to sustain us through these exhausting times.

  

*Optional: Before cooking lentils, soak them in hot water with a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.  This makes them more easily digestible and also reduces their cooking time.  I soaked mine overnight.

1 cup sorghum, rinsed
3 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water + ½ bouillon cube)
¾ cup black lentils, rinsed and sorted, soaked if desired (see note above)
2 tsp of vinegar (I used apple cider)
a few small beets, scrubbed
1/3 cup hazelnuts
1/3 cup meyer lemon juice (from ~2 meyer lemons)
2 tsp meyer lemon zest
1/3 cup olive oil (plus a tiny bit more for sorghum)
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
optional: salad greens for serving

  • Place sorghum, water/stock, and a drop of olive oil in a saucepan and cook over high heat until boiling.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 50-60 minutes (mine took 60) or until tender but still a little chewy.  Drain and let cool.
  • Meanwhile, make the lentils.  Place lentils in a pot and cover with about 2 inches of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until done (but not falling apart).  Cooking time for the lentils will vary, depending on freshness and whether or not they’ve been soaked.  My previously soaked lentils were done in 15 minutes; lentils that haven’t been soaked will take longer, closer to 25 minutes.  So be sure to keep an eye on them and check regularly for doneness.  Once cooked, drain, then toss with 2 tsp of vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Let cool.
  • Meanwhile, make the beets.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Wrap beets in foil, place in an oven safe dish, and roast for about an hour, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork.  Let cool, then peel and dice small.
  • Turn oven down to 350 degrees F.  Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, keeping a close watch, until browned and fragrant.  Remove from pan and wrap in a dishtowel.  Let sit for a minute (this will trap in the steam), then rub through the towel to remove the loose skins. Don’t worry about getting all the skins off– you only want get rid of the excess bits that would come off in your mouth (not pleasant).  Roughly chop.
  • To make the dressing, place the meyer lemon juice, olive oil, chopped thyme, and a dash of salt and pepper in a jar.  Seal tightly and shake vigorously to combine.
  • Mix together the lentils, sorghum, beets, and most of the dressing, setting aside some for leftovers (the sorghum will soak it up!).  Season with salt and pepper, and top with hazelnuts and zest.  Serve as is or with salad greens.

Yield: About 6 servings